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May 31, 2006

An Uninformed President

President Bush learned about the alleged massacre in Haditha, which occurred in November, when a Time magazine reporter started asking questions in March.  He was only briefed by his staff because he was likely to get questions from reporters.  What is going on here?  The President learns of these critical turning points of the war at the same time the American public does?  The same thing happened at the time of the Abu Ghraib revelations. Bush wasn't aware of the reports of torture until five months after they occurred.  As the Carpetbagger Report asks, "if the president's advisors aren't keeping him informed about crises like Haditha and Abu Ghraib, what, exactly, are they covering in those military briefings?"  And, how the heck can he direct the war in Iraq if he doesn't know what is going on? 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 31, 2006 at 08:43 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feel the Buzz

Rahm Emanuel came to town yesterday evening to show his support for Darcy Burner.  Emanuel, Congressman from Illinois and Chair of the DCCC, the organization charged with getting more Democrats elected to the House of Representatives, joined ex-Republican Rodney Tom, currently running as a Democrat in the 48th LD for the State Senate, and Dwight Pelz, Chair of the State Democratic Party in touting Darcy.  The event was held at the new Community Center at Mercer View on Mercer Island and it was jammed.    

There is a lot of buzz surrounding Darcy and her run to unseat Dave Reichert.  The crowd was ready to trade Reichert in for a fresh, determined new representative and they seemed to like what they saw in the “Microsoft Mom”, as Emanuel called her.

Rodney Tom started off the proceedings, sharing how happy he is to be a Democrat and how much he thinks his district, which is entirely within the 8th CD, is behind Darcy.  After the event I asked him why he was glad he’d made the switch.  He said he feels welcome when he is in rooms with Democrats whereas he’d felt shunned in recent years at Republican events for being too much of a moderate.  He also said he thinks the 48th district, which includes Redmond, Bellevue and Kirkland, is definitely leaning Democratic and fits both where he is and where Darcy is.

Dscn1011 Next up was Dwight Pelz who talked about why we need to take this seat.  The room burst into applause when he said, “When we do, we will investigate those bastards.” 

Pelz also announced that Bush will be coming to raise money for Reichert in June.  That is how seriously the Republicans take the Burner campaign.  Bush is only campaigning publicly for a few candidates around the country, mostly because his support is generally not very helpful to candidates.  Pelz said that polling has indicated that only 24% of voters in the 8th CD approve of the job that Bush is doing.  Since Reichert is a Bush supporter down the line, it’s hard to see that voters won’t turn him out of office in favor of Darcy, who is far more in tune with the voters in the 8th.

When Rahm Emanuel stepped up to the microphone to talk about Darcy, he began by saying, “This Microsoft Mom is going to win.”  Emanuel reminded us that we have added more debt over the last five years than at anytime in American history.  He talked about how much money special interests like the oil and pharmaceutical industries have made off the current Republican Congress.  The oil industry spent $98 million lobbying this Congress and received $18 billion in return in laws that favored them.  He said, “That’s a far better return on their money than anything else they could do.”  He added, “Voting for Dave Reichert is voting for the same course in the future.  It’s time for a change.”

Dscn1007 Then Darcy stepped up to talk with the audience.  Darcy talked about her working class background and the opportunities she had and made in life – as a national merit scholar who went to Harvard and then worked in the high-tech industry.  She talked about how brother, who is in the military, has served one tour in Iraq and will serve another.   She talked about how she wants to make a good world for her 3-year old son to grow up in.   

She said, “We have an opportunity to change this Congress.  This race is 1/15 of the needed change.  This 1/15 is in your hands.  I need your support.  Help me by volunteering.  Help me by contributing.  Thank you.” 

I did not know most of the folks in the audience.  They were not the old Democratic hands.  They were local to the eastside, people out to either find out about who Darcy is or to support her as she came to their neighborhood.   But they liked what they heard.  They applauded for her and they applauded when Dwight or Rahm reminded them that we need to turn out the Congress we currently have in the “other Washington”. 

It was great to have Rahm here in our state.  He is doing a great job of making sure that we have the best possible chance of taking back our Congress.  The DCCC has identified a set of candidates, Darcy included, who have the best chance of helping do just that and he has helped raise the national money that will help the DCCC make this happen.

However, one old hand, who asked not to be quoted, did say that it is up to us in this area to give Darcy the support she needs to be independent of the national Democrats.  I agree.  I think the more money we can provide for Darcy’s campaign, the easier it will be for her to be her own person.  She is independent by nature and not inclined to kowtow to anyone, Democratic establishment included.  Nevertheless, the more we can fund her from the grassroots right here in this state, the easier it will be for her.  Help do that.       

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 31, 2006 at 07:02 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 29, 2006

Interview with Richard Wright, Running in 4th

Jim at McCranium out of the Tri-Cities has a wonderful interview with Richard Wright, the Democrat who is taking on "Doc" Hastings in the 4th Congressional District.  I was struck first with Jim's attitude about the chances of a Democrat winning in this Central Washington district.  This is something we all need to hear:

To some, Washington’s 4th Congressional District is dead red. So much so that discussions about the upcoming congressional race here are laced with dismay among some democrats. Some are even willing to back seemingly moderate republicans in what seems to me a way to wish the district to a more centrist political environment. Voters who have repeatedly voted republican have consistantly consoled themselves that when things appear good for them there is no need to change. Any political anomoly would pass and life would go on. By all rights, this year wouldn’t be any different if the national political and economic environment were not different than that of a few short years ago. By striking contrast, gas prices, a war with no realistic strategy from the majority party, and an air of corruption surrounding the other Washington that despite the quelling, floats like the spring debris down the mighty Columbia River.

<snip>

In my district, I have heard it all.  The bench isn’t deep enough. There are no standouts.  Hoplessly red.  No national Dem support… etc… Any democrat is going to have a hard time in this district for sure. But relying on the usual buzz isn’t going to get you up on who is stepping up to the plate.  And the usual buzz is just another page out of the Karl Rove playbook.  It’s almost as if we forgot the “Mom in Tennis Shoes” candidate that came out of nowhere and has served this state respectively ever since.  Good candidates don’t grown on trees for sure.  But really good ones have roots in the district they want to represent.

Then Jim begins the discussion with Wright.  Here are a couple of key things Wright said that made me really like the guy. 

I’m excited about putting everything I have into this race.  Our campaign team is working hard and we’ve just ramped up our fundraising schedule.  The main thing is getting the resources together to make sure our message touches as many people as possible.

<snip>

What’s clear is that there are no “safe” seats in Congress this year.  Republican leaders thought Hastings’ district was secure when they handed him the ethics chair job, but things have changed. That was before DeLay announced his resignation and before Congress had a popular approval rating in the low twenties.

Then Jim brings in ace interviewer Noemie Maxwell from Washblog to ask questions from a non-4th District perspective.  I liked Noemie's assessment of Wright and what he wants to do and I like Richard's responses:

Noemie:  While I’m not familiar with 4th CD issues.  After reviewing your website, I am pleased with your three choices of foundational issues — upholding the Constitution, healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.  These three things all speak to me about the underlying issue of stability for the US.  I wonder if you see the same theme here.   And, if so, what are the other areas you think most need to be addressed to get us back to a better state of national security and stability.  In particular, I’m wondering if you see environmental and voter integrity issues as also related to stability?

Wright: Instead of bowing to the interests of the oil companies and pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, our President should have taken a strong lead to address the problems caused by greenhouse gases.  This is the biggest threat to our future.

And then Noemie has a question that I'd like to see all of us thinking about in every national race.  And Richard's answers are great:

Noemie:  If Democrats get control of the House, will we be able to re-establish balance without either caving in to the Republicans or creating excess/unnecessary ill will?

Wright: I like this question very much because I think Democrats need to start thinking about it right now.  When we have control of Congress we will need to work effectively with Republicans and in doing so we will begin to help restore faith in our government.  We must try to eliminate extreme partisanship.

Republicans have been heavy-handed in their leadership.  We can’t solve difficult problems or move forward as a nation with arm-twisting and petty bickering dragging us down.  It will be helpful to get some new faces in Congress and clean out the power-brokers motivated only by special interests.  My opponent, Mr. Hastings held the vote on the Medicare Drug Bill open an unprecedented three hours allowing the President to influence that legislation.  It will be hard for some to just forget the kind of partisan manipulation that’s gone on.

The Democratic Party has always been the party of the people:  the little guy, the teacher, the small businessman, a union worker, nurses and farmers.  And when the Democrats take over the “People’s House,” there will be major changes, of course.  Democrats will invest again in people, not corporations.  We will invest in healthcare for all Americans.  We will invest in education, in good jobs.

This guy does not have the physical presence and star power of either Darcy Burner or Peter Goldmark. (Sorry, he just doesn't.  I've seen him in person.) But he is a great guy and would serve his constiuents far, far better as a representative than the guy the poor 4th District folks have now.  Besides Al Gore didn't have star power back in 2000 and almost the entire nation wishes they had voted for him now.  (And somewhere in the last 6 years, Al has found his groove.) But Wright is articulate and knowledgeable:

Noemie:  Lastly, how can you help people from outside the 4th understand the importance of the issues there for all of us?

Wright: I think everyone can understand the connection between Mr. Hastings and the culture of corruption in Congress.  That fact alone makes our race out here in the 4th District one of national importance.  Everyone has a stake in this race.  Along the same lines, everyone in this country has a stake in electing leaders who think for themselves and don’t simply follow the party line or engage in petty partisanship.  I believe that most Americans are ready for a return to honest leadership and open government.

Makes me think we might just take all three of these Districts currently held by Democrats.  The entire interview is great.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 29, 2006 at 08:56 PM in Interviews | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Coming Internet Revolution in American Politics

Is the Internet going to select the next President?  Bob Schieffer noted on the "Charlie Rose Show" that successful presidents have all skillfully made use of the dominant medium of their times.  He cites the Founders who were eloquent writers in the age of pamphleteering, FDR using radio masterfully during the Great Depression, and JFK's use of television during his campaign and after his election.  So, Schieffer suggests that the 2008 election will be won by whichever candidate catches fire on the Internet.  Jonathan Alter, writing about Schieffer's point in Newsweek says,

Last time, Howard Dean and later John Kerry showed that the whole idea of "early money" is now obsolete in presidential politics. The Internet lets candidates who catch fire raise millions in small donations practically overnight. That's why all the talk of Hillary Clinton's "war chest" making her the front runner for 2008 is the most hackneyed punditry around. Money from wealthy donors remains the essential ingredient in most state and local campaigns, but "free media" shapes the outcome of presidential races, and the Internet is the freest media of all.   

Alter goes on to suggest a few other changes the rise of the Internet is likely to bring.  He thinks "the longtime stranglehold of media consultants may be over" since candidates have the ability to allow anyone who has an idea to get it out on the Internet and then see which ones work. Hey, that's what MoveOn did prior to the last election when they had us all reviewing and voting on the best ads to put out there and the last few ads were stupendous.  Alter also notes that the Internet may redesign even how candidates are selected.  He calls this open-source politics and cites a new bipartisan group which is opening shop at Unity08.com this week.  These folks, three former campaign consultants and media experts, are looking to establish an "American Idol"-type bipartisan nomination process.  He has more:

The Unity08 plan is for an online third-party convention in mid-2008, following the early primaries. Any registered voter could be a delegate; their identities would be confirmed by cross-referencing with voter registration rolls (which would also prevent people from casting more than one ballot). That would likely include a much larger number than the few thousand primary voters who all but nominate the major party candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. This virtual process will vote on a centrist platform and nominate a bipartisan ticket. The idea is that even if the third-party nominee didn't win, he would wield serious power in the '08 election, which will likely be close.

Now, I'm pretty wedded to the Democratic Party and have staked my energy and efforts into dragging the Party into the modern age so I'm a bit dubious about a third party.  But perhaps a kick in the shins would be useful.  Here's how he ends:

But funny things happen in election years. With an issue as eye-glazing as the deficit, a wacky, jug-eared Texan named Ross Perot received 19 percent of the vote in 1992 and 7 percent in 1996. He did it with "Larry King Live" and an 800 number. In a country where more than 40 percent of voters now self-identify as independents, it's no longer a question of whether the Internet will revolutionize American politics, but when.

Hat tip to Howie Martin.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 29, 2006 at 11:01 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 28, 2006

More on Peter Goldmark and his Campaign

Details on Goldmark, his run against straight Republican voting first termer Cathy McMorris and the district he wants to represent.  I posted a brief piece a few days ago here and then fleshed it out today on DailyKos. Go take a look.  He's likely to ignite eastern Washington like Darcy Burner is igniting us over here. 

Which will give us another two Democrats in Congress from Washington State.  Hurray.

UPDATE: From McCranium, we get a clip of Goldmark's kick-off speech in Spokane.  He's great.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 28, 2006 at 02:32 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 26, 2006

General Goldy

"General Jesus" Goldy is funny.  He wants to make it legal to discriminate against Christians.

As a Jew, I find the so-called “Christian lifestyle” offensive, and contrary to the teachings of the Torah. The Lord commanded Moses, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and yet the Christians not only worship that Jesus guy, they’re constantly praying to Saint This, or Saint That, and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Whatever. I mean… what the hell is up with that?

Yes, it's satire.  See if you can figure out the point.  (Most of his pinhead right-wing commenters apparently couldn't.)


Posted by Jon Stahl on May 26, 2006 at 11:00 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opportunities for Taking Action

If you have a couple hours this weekend and want to do a little grassroots work while you have some fun, here are two possibilities.
 
Folklife Voter Registration
 
The League of Women Voters will be conducting Voter Registration at Folklife Friday (5/26) through Monday (5/29). There will be 2 hour shifts starting at 11:00 AM and ending at 7:00 PM. The League will be located at the West Side of the Center House at the Seattle Center. It would be great if you scheduled a shift or two in advance but we will put you to work if you drop in. This is an important election year, but GOTV work must begin with Voter Registration. Contact Jack Smith at 206-329-5514.
 
Initiative 937 - The Clean Energy Initiative
 
A separate, but also very important activity will be gathering signatures to put the League of Women Voter endorsed I-937 (Clean Energy) on the ballot. The I-937 team will be located on Mercer, but you will be able to get information at the League's Voter Registration Table. Ask for Jack.

Note: I don't know anyone who knows how to make political action work more fun than Jack. Nor is there anyone better at engaging people and making it fun for them as well. I'd like to see the campaigns figure out a way to bottle this guy.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 26, 2006 at 09:45 AM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Andy Stern Rocks

Andy Stern, Head of the national SEIU, is the labor leader who is most often out in front for progressive causes. Here are two he's involved just this last week.

The SEIU campaign, Since Sliced Bread, was an innovative way to get his labor union smack in the middle of the progressive conversation about where this country should be going. Now, because so many of the ideas that came up had to do with how to make the workplace an easier place for working moms and families, he and SEIU have joined up with the MomsRising organization created by Joan Blades of MoveOn fame and and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Washington State writer. Last week, in conjunction with Mother's Day, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger and Joan Blades met in Chicago to talk about how we can improve life for working moms and dads.

Then, I also caught a guest-post that Stern did on MyDD a couple days ago on net neutrality. Here's a key paragraph:

It's important to make sure that workers are free to unite online about issues in the workplace.  It's also important to make sure that everyone in America has equal access to the internet.  The internet's culture of openness is a critical part of its success.  Restricting access or creating a "tiered network" runs the risk of restricting the internet only to  those who can afford it.  A "pay-to-play" internet is dangerous not  only for any group that wants to organize it's members online, but to  anyone who cares about free speech and democracy.

The transparency and the accessibility of the internet is crucial to the long-term success of our democracy - and of our economy. Letting a few large corporations control access using a fee-based system is  unthinkable - and dangerous.

Stern's position on net neutrality is particularly welcome given that the Communication Workers Union is one of the chief groups actively opposing it.

Thanks, Andy, for getting it and assisting your Union to take the lead on progressive causes.


Posted by Lynn Allen on May 26, 2006 at 09:18 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cantwell Votes Against Confirming Hayden

Is Cantwell listening to her base? Senator Maria Cantwell joined 13 other Democrats and 1 Republican in voting against Michael Hayden's confirmation as Head of the CIA in a 78-15 vote in the Senate. Other Democrats voting against the confirmation were Bayh (D-IN), Clinton (D-NY), Dayton (D-MN), Dodd (D-CT), Dorgan (D-ND), Durban (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Harkin (D-IA), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Obama (D-IL), and Wyden (D-OR). They were joined by Specter (R-PA). Seven Senators were not present for the vote: Democrats Boxer (D-CA), Conrad (D-ND), Inouye (D-HI), Rockefeller (D-WV), and Salazar (D-CO) and Republicans Dole (R-NC) and Thune (D-SD).

Thanks to all and kudos to the Washington State constituents who have been on Cantwell's case to stand up for us against the craziness of the Republican leadership.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 26, 2006 at 08:47 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

On the Campaign Trail with Peter Goldmark

Democrat Peter Goldmark, Okanogan rancher and molecular biologist, aims to take back the 5th Congressional District for the Democrats. The seat, long held by Democratic Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, is currently held by Tom DeLay supporter, Cathy McMorris. Goldmark, along with a gang of supporters, rode into Spokane by horseback along the Centennial Trail for a kickoff rally this morning.

This guy would be a great addition to Congress. As Steve Zemke says over at Majority Rules, we need someone like Goldmark in Congress to represent our great inland empire. He is from the ranching community; he is a PhD scientist with a lab on his ranch, and he a former WSU Regent. Take a look at the photos on his website. Goldmark, like Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, has sizzle.

Here's a bit about why he decided to run from an article in Saturday's PI:

Goldmark decided last year that he would run against McMorris because he felt the nation was on the wrong path.

Goldmark was particularly worried about the plight of the farm economy, which he believes the Bush administration has ignored. He would also focus on cutting the nation's dependence on foreign oil, by promoting alternatives to oil that could be grown and processed in farm country.

This could be a very good year.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 24, 2006 at 05:03 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

Darcy - Our First Local Netroots/Grassroots Candidate

Darcy Burner has just been Netroots Endorsed by a grouping of major national blogs including MyDD, DailyKos and Swing State Project. A few weeks ago these blogs asked their readers to recommend the next candidate they should endorse and support. Darcy won this round (there will be additional candidates endorsed as the year goes on).

She won because she gets what the Netroots/Grassroots is asking for in the people we send to Congress. She knows that it is her job to represent the people of Washington's 8th district rather than special interests. She has vowed to have her actions in Congress be transparent to her constituents. She promises to post a list of all meetings with lobbyists by her or any of her staff members on her blog. She is net-savvy and maintains relationships with local bloggers as well as grassroots groups. She promises to share the process of governing with us when she is elected.

According to Matt Stoller of MyDD, she also won because of us, one of the most mature local progressive blogging netroots in the country. YEAH FOR US! The local netroots has responded to her by assisting her in bringing in an unprecedented amount of money for her in the last few days of the 1st quarter, a key time to let the national Democrats know she has local support. We responded by advocating for her in this MyDD - DailyKos - Swing State Project online dialogue/primary.

This is what the rebuilding of democracy looks like in this critical time of our country's history. It is a coalition of candidates with smarts and integrity, like Darcy, and those of us who are determined to take back our country. Check out Darcy's website. Give money her her. She's on top of the Actblue netroots page.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 24, 2006 at 08:52 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 23, 2006

Could Seattle do without its viaduct?

Great, in-depth article in the PI today that asks Could Seattle do without its viaduct?, and looks at the experiences (and debates) in other cities that have torn down elevated highways or are considering it.

What I want to see is the cold hard facts about whether viaduct traffic could be absorbed elsewhere -- and the numbers need to come from someplace trustable like the Puget Sound Regional Council, not the State DOT or the Port of Seattle, who have vested interests in building megaprojects.

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 23, 2006 at 11:58 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (12)

State legislators screwed Seattle on replacing the Viaduct

State legislators by only allowing a choice between a tunnel that has the same “capacity” as the current viaduct, or a horrifying elevated highway have screwed Seattle.  As a progressive, pro-transit city, Seattle must be allowed to work towards a solution that uses state funding to replace the viaduct with a reduced capacity tunnel, while focusing local dollars on transit.

The Mayor and City Council in Seattle should have lobbied the state for an option that allowed for reduced capacity, rather than blindly advocating for an expensive tunnel.  They made that mistake prior to the 2006 legislative session, and should try to reverse it now.  Politically, the city should get behind the same capacity tunnel as the only reasonable option, line up the money, and then lobby the state for the less expensive reduced capacity tunnel and free up the remaining local dollars for transit.

Meanwhile, the no-replacement option, advocated by the Peoples Waterfront Coalition is gaining appeal as the solution to create funding for transit and as a way to reconnect the street grid.   Yet, the political support for removing the viaduct and replacing it with a street level option is tenuous at best, and it doesn’t allow for a beautiful waterfront.  We must also examine the “bigger picture” and acknowledge the way transportation spending works at the state level.

The gas tax must be spent on state highway projects (until we change the state constitution).  If 2 Billion is shifted away from the viaduct replacement, the first place it goes is into expanding other local highways, such as I-405, worsening congestion in the region.

North of downtown, Aurora Avenue North should be reduced from its existing six-lane highway to a tree planted boulevard, with bike lanes, and bus rapid transit.  The street grid could be reconnected at many blocks, from Greenlake to Downtown, removing not only a dangerous ugly roadway, but also making Aurora less of a highway and more of a transit and people corridor. 

Under the waterfront, a tunnel, with  “congestion pricing,” should be built.  Not just as a replacement for the existing viaduct, but also designed to help alleviate congestion on I-5.  The Urban Environmental Stakeholders position should be seriously considered as solution to a complex problem.

With a tunnel under the waterfront Seattle can begin a long-term plan to create a vibrant downtown of increased density, with a focus on new affordable housing and serving as Seattle’s primary transit hub.

Cross Posted on Urban Transit

Posted by EzraBasom on May 23, 2006 at 01:43 PM in Policy, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 22, 2006

The Quickening: The Netroots and the Grassroots

My head swims at just how quickly the netroots is impacting both the Democratic Party and the larger political scene in this country. The netroots is enabling and influencing the grassroots on the progressive side. There is a cry for holding our elected officials accountable for what we want. We are making use of the technology of our times to discuss what we want and to organize for it. Here are a couple examples from the last few days day and I could probably have found three times as many.

Ned Lamont's showing in Connecticut Puts the Democratic Establishment on Notice

On Friday Ned Lamont received 33% of the votes of delegates (to Joe Lieberman's 67%) at the Connecticut Democratic Party convention to select the person who would run for Senate on the Democratic side this year. The netroots has endorsed and supported and championed Ned Lamont, a Connecticut businessman relatively new to politics who had the moxie and the credibility to take on Joe Lieberman. The size of the vote at the State convention is huge, given that Lamont was a relative unknown as recently as January and that Lieberman with concerted support of the Democratic establishment, twisted the arms of the delegates nearly to the breaking point in an attempt to prevent Lamont from getting 15%, the percentage that entitled him to a sponsored place on the Democratic primary ballot. Had Lamont not received 15%, and truly no one expected him to reach that level given the givens, he would have been able to make it onto the primary ballot by collected some relatively high number of signatures of voters. Lamont was well-prepared to do just that. He had 500 volunteers signed up to go. But now, those same volunteers can spend their time familiarizing the rank and file Democrats with who Lamont is and exciting them to vote for him in the Democratic primary to take on the Republican in the race.

Make no mistake about it. The results from this delegate count will rumble through the Democratic establishment all over this country. We made ourselves heard. We, the Democratic base, will no longer support faux Democrats. We want the real thing. This time we had the choice. Ned Lamont is the real thing and Joe Lieberman is the worst of the national Democrats. Nevertheless, many big-time Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Chris Dodd, and even Harry Reid put their influence into supporting Lieberman. Rosa D'Lauro, liberal Congresscritter from Connecticut and one of my personal favorites, came out for Lieberman. Now it's not even clear if he will run as a Democrat since the odds are good that he would lose the primary.

The times they are a'changing. Paul Krugman has an opinion piece up on the New York Times discussing how the netroots/blogging community is going around the Democratic Party establishment to reach the people directly - in effect questioning the relevancy of those parts of the Party that don't get it.

Jean Rohe Pre-empts McCain

Thursday evening was graduation day at the New School in New York. One of the two student speakers, Jean Rohe, a music student in the New School Jazz Program (who also received a degree in a second program at the same time) had prepared a speech on communicating through music, particularly with preschoolers and elders with Alzheimer's. Then one day before she was scheduled to speak, she realized how much resistance the students and faculty at the school felt about having John McCain give the commencement address. It was a top-down decision and most of the rather liberal school didn't like it. She also realized that she had an opportunity to speak to what she knew Senator John McCain would be saying and that she was scheduled to speak directly ahead of him. He was giving three or four commencement addresses over several days and had said they would all be the same and had published the first two on his website. The other student speaker pointed her to those speeches; she read the condescending way he talked about the dissent he was likely to encounter and she got mad.

So she wrote a new speech, eviscerating McCain's speech before he even gave it. Nicely. Here's a bit of what she said:

Based on the speech he gave at the other institutions, Senator Mc Cain will tell us today that dissent and disagreement are our "civic and moral obligation" in times of crisis. I consider this a time of crisis and I feel obligated to speak. Senator Mc Cain will also tell us about his cocky self-assuredness in his youth, which prevented him from hearing the ideas of others. In so doing, he will imply that those of us who are young are too naïve to have valid opinions and open ears. I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that preemptive war is dangerous and wrong, that George Bush's agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost. And I know that despite all the havoc that my country has wrought overseas in my name, Osama bin Laden still has not been found, nor have those weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, Senator Mc Cain will tell us that we, those of us who are Americans, "have nothing to fear from each other." I agree strongly with this, but I take it one step further. We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet. Fear is the greatest impediment to the achievement of peace. We have nothing to fear from people who are different from us, from people who live in other countries, even from the people who run our government--and this we should have learned from our educations here. We can speak truth to power, we can allow our humanity always to come before our nationality, we can refuse to let fear invade our lives and to goad us on to destroy the lives of others. These words I speak do not reflect the arrogance of a young strong-headed woman, but belong to a line of great progressive thought, a history in which the founders of this institution play an important part. I speak today, even through my nervousness, out of a need to honor those voices that came before me, and I hope that we graduates can all strive to do the same.

She wrote about her decision to change her speech at Huffington Post. You can find her speech there as well.

Monitoring "Referendum Sunday"

Then, closer to home, the Northwest Progressive Institute blog has photos of the Antioch Bible Church, where Ken Hutcherson's is pastor, asking people to sign petitions to legalize discrimination against people of a different sexual orientation. Tim Eyman had sent petitions for getting Referendum 65 on the ballot in November to 4500 evangelical churches in Washington State, asking them to get their parishioners to sign. So far he's been having difficulty getting enough signatures. David Goldstein of Horsesass.org had put out the call for folks to go to church this last Sunday and check to see if churches were asking folks to sign the petition. Taking photos of this "Referendum Sunday" drive at a particular church and posting them was a perfect example of holding folks accountable for their actions and getting the information out to the public. None of us are quite sure whether on not this is a legal action on the part of the churches that participate but I truly doubt that it is something folks really want to see happening.

The Netroots in Your Face

I expect the speed of this netroots/grassroots phenomenon will pick up with the opening of "An Inconvenient Truth" in early June and the YearlyKos Convention later that same week. Strap yourselves in, folks. We are in for a ride, a ride that may very well get us back our country. Thanks to Howard Dean for issuing the cry three years ago. "I want my country back." We are heeding it.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 22, 2006 at 10:52 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Staying Up on the Possible Rove Indictment

Truthout has a nice piece up on a hoped for indictment of Karl Rove in the on-going Valerie Plame Leak investigation. There was a lot of expectation that we were going to see Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald bring charges against Rove last week. Nothing has happened publicly. However, Mark Ash, Executive Director of Truthout, who has stayed on top of this story from the beginning, says,

We know that we have now three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment either late in the night of May 12 or early in the morning of May 13. We know that each source was in a position to know what they were talking about. We know that the office of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will not confirm, will not deny, will not comment on its investigation or on our report. We know that both Rove's attorney Robert Luskin and Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo have categorically denied all key facts we have set forth. We know we have information that directly contradicts Luskin and Corallo's denials. We know that there were two network news crews outside of the building in Washington, DC that houses the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm that represents Karl Rove. We know that the 4th floor of that building (where the Patton Boggs offices are located) was locked down all day Friday and into Saturday night. We know that we have not received a request for a retraction from anyone. And we know that White House spokesman Tony Snow now refuses to discuss Karl Rove - at all.

Then they go on to talk about what they believe is happening based on the amount of spin that is hitting their reporting from the Rove-influenced media:

Rove may be turning state's evidence. We suspect that the scope of Fitzgerald's investigation may have broadened - clearly to Cheney - and according to one "off the record source" to individuals and events not directly related to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We believe that the indictment which does exist against Karl Rove is sealed. Finally, we believe that there is currently a great deal of activity in the Plame investigation.

Hat tip to Howie Martin, formerly blogging at at Seattle for Dean, now defunct, is writing at Howie in Seattle as well as at the national site, Booman Tribune.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 22, 2006 at 04:49 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 21, 2006

Amazing Virtual Discussion Tomorrow on Washblog

You are invited to join in a discussion on sustainable farming, peak oil, alternative energy, conservation, peace activism and the need to develop local markets and business in Washington State. Evergreen Politics, along with Pacific Views, is co-hosting this discussion with Washblog and I will be amongst the folks who have previously agreed to take part in the conversation. We will get kicked off with the publication of an essay by Steven Garrett entitled "Tomatoes in December" which will go up at about 7:00PM. Take a read and then join in the ensuing on-line discussion with us. If you are not registered to comment at Washblog, you may want to get on that ahead of time.

The discussion is meant to familiarize folks with an edgy, not yet fully clarified issue that is likely to become ever more relevant to us over the next few years. It is the beginning of a new program called Back to the Roots which is sponsored by the Institute for Washington's Future. Jim Hightower, progressive populist and former Agricultural Commissioner in Texas, will be in Seattle to kick off a series of forums on September 14th. He will talk about the national perspective on food, energy and the commons. Follow-on forums will feature local or regional folks talking about how this all applies to us here.

For information on the conversationalists, some possible discussion questions, and upcoming essays, see the Washblog page on this on-line discussion.


Posted by Lynn Allen on May 21, 2006 at 08:44 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trending Upward

Governor Gregoire's approval numbers have hit 50%. They've been trending upward steadily as folks realize what an incredibly good job she is doing for us in this state. Dan has the details over at "On the Road to 2008".

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 21, 2006 at 07:29 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Technical Transition

Last weekend my computer crashed - with some help from the otherwise delightful two and a half year old niece.  Anyway, after thinking about my options, and being offline for a couple of days, I decided to go for the new MacBook Pro, something I'd decided I'd get in a few months anyway to make the jump to podcasting.  I just wasn't quite ready for it to happen so quickly.

The process of getting the computer was amazingly simple.  Once I decided that I'd go for it, put the cost on a credit card, paid the extra for the new Apple, it all went quite smoothly.  They transferred all my files - at least so far I think all - which saved me the hassle of figuring all that out.

You pay more for an Apple, no question, but the design, the service, the way they think about what you will want as a user, is just wonderful.  I paid an extra $100 to get one-on-one training, as much as once a week for a year and in-store technical help anytime I want (so long as I make an appointment).  This is perfect for me, someone who can only handle so much technical stuff in one sitting.  So I got my first hour tutorial the moment I picked up the computer after they'd transferred my data. 

Nevertheless, after I got home, I've run into another hundred questions that I can't get training on until next week.  So, it's been like learning a new language.  The simplest things, like figuring out how to cut and paste, have taken a long time.  The "delete" button goes the wrong way! I have a long list of items to ask about and in the meantime, I'm using work-arounds to get up and going on the general everyday tasks.

And that's all separate from getting caught up on my email and the news that we only get on the Internet and beginning to post again.   So, this was not an expected vacation from posting here.  This was one of those weeks that just got away from me.  But I'm back and I'm starting to get why all those Mac users keep saying we should all come join them. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 19, 2006 at 11:17 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (3)

YearlyKos - A Not-To-Be-Missed Event

Every once and awhile a seminal event comes along that brings people together in a new way and creates a new community, a new way of thinking about the world or at least a particular part of the world.  Woodstock was that in the late sixties for a generation of folks.  Last year's Camp Wellstone was that for the bloggers in Seattle.  YearlyKos, the first-ever gathering of this new community we call the blogosphere will be that in a big way for progressive political folks. 

The DailyKos community began putting this event together late last year, voted to hold it in Las Vegas, decided on the dates of June 8-11th, and began the organizing and recruiting.  It is turning into a giant event.  As of now, big-time Democratic politicos and progressives will be in attendance, some as speakers, some on panels, some just meeting and greeting.  Thus far this includes Harry Reid, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Wilson, Michael Shiavo, Barbara Boxer, Tom Vilsack, George Lakoff, and others still to be announced.

Big-time bloggers will be on panels including Murray Waas, Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith (Redhead), Markos, Jerome, Hunter, Atrios, John Aravosis, Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller and others. 

Key contributors to DailyKos like Stephen Darksyde and Jerome will be leading the science and energy panels respectively.  A few hip journalists like Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post will be there.

The last I heard they had over 1500 people signed up and were quickly heading for 2000.  I wouldn't be surprised if that number jumped to 2500.  It will be a glorious madhouse, a place for meeting folks of similar political persuasions, a giant marker of the changing of the political guard in this country.

And you can come.  Just sign right up.  They are likely to close it reasonably soon.  If you want to be part of our Washington State crew and go out to breakfast with others from here (and I think a few are going to a Rainiers game in Las Vegas), let Switerblog know and he'll give you the secret handshake.   

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 19, 2006 at 10:42 PM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (4)

Framing Immigration

I usually try to avoid big national issues here on EP, but with immigration policy so much in the news these days I couldn't resist pointing out the new think-piece from  Rockridge Institute on The Framing of Immigration.  It's a complex issue, and the frames are complex and divisive.  As usual, the folks at Rockridge help peel back the curtain on the often-charged and manipulative language.

Here's a meaty tidbit that summarizes some of the frames different folks are using:

Conservatives

The conservative views:

Law and Order:
The “illegal immigrants” are criminals, felons, and must be punished - rounded up and sent home. There should be no amnesty. Otherwise all law will break down.

The Nativists: The immigrants are diluting our culture, our language, and our values.

The Profiteers:
We need cheap labor to keep our profits up and our cheap lifestyle in place.

The Bean Counters:
We can't afford to have illegal immigrants using our tax dollars on health, education, and other services.

The Security Hounds: We need more border guards and a hi-tech wall to guarantee our security.

Progressives

Progressivism Begins at Home: The immigrants are taking the jobs of American works and we have to protect our workers.

African-American Protectionists: Hispanic immigrants are threatening African-American jobs.

Provide a path to citizenship: The immigrants have earned citizenship with their hard work, their devotion to American values, and their contribution to our society.

Foreign Policy Reformers: We need to pay attention to the causes that drive others from their homelands.

Wage supports
: Institute a serious earned income tax credit for Americans doing otherwise low-paying jobs, so that more Americans will want to do them and fewer immigrants will be drawn here.

Illegal Employers: The way to protect American workers and slow immigration of unskilled workers is to prosecute employers of unskilled workers.

We can see why this is such a complex problem and why there are so many splits within both the conservative and progressive ranks.

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 17, 2006

Calling All Transit Wonks!

Two interesting transit events coming up next week that are sure to be of interest:

1: Evening Roundtable: May 22 7:30-9:00 pm - Town Hall Seattle

   Bunch of urban transit nerds talking and answering questions about city
   streets and urban mobility.

2: Brown bag lunch w/ City Council: May 23 Noon-1:30  Seattle City Council Chambers

   

http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/news/detail.asp?ID=6118&Dept=28
   Three Seattle City Council members have invited former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist
   to talk about his city's experience tearing down elevated highways.
   (Apparently they liked it. A lot.)

Details below the fold.

(Following is courtesy of Cary Moon from the People's Waterfront Coalition)

John Norquist, director of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, are coming to Seattle May 22 and 23. Their two organizations are doing a national study of the economic and civic benefits of tearing down urban highways and replacing them with surface streets, and their study includes analysis of Seattle's viaduct removal / replacement situation. City Council is hosting a brown bag lunch discussion at noon on the 23rd, and the People's Waterfront Coalition and Transportation Choices Coalition are organizing an evening roundtable discussion with them at Town Hall the evening of May 22 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

David Brewster
will moderate the roundtable discussion event.  We've invited Anne Vernez Moudon from UW to be on the panel, and Denis Hayes from the Bullitt Foundation and Green Ribbon Commission. If they can't, we have some other great possible panelists to invite. The format is presentation by Scott and John, then moderated discussion, then questions from the audience.

John and Scott give a great presentation about successful urban streets, mobility in cities, and make some very interesting arguments about how highways are a rural model that doesn't fit well with city grids. As the Mayor of Milwaukee, John led that city to remove a waterfront elevated highway, and they're now beginning to reap significant economic and civic benefits.  Scott has been a hero in the world of preventing sprawl and offering smart alternatives to highways for decades. He was a co-founder of the Surface Transportation Policy Project, was on Clinton's President's Council for Sustainable Development, and is a board member for the Brookings Institute Center for Urban and Metropolitan Policy -- among other kick-ass activist credentials. They have already done economic and case study traffic analysis which is all turning out in favor of the Transit + Streets proposal (surprise!) and are ready to start sharing their knowledge.

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 17, 2006 at 05:29 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hottest party in Seattle!

Hot off the presses, from an email message to the organization's insiders, I've just learned that this Saturday's 43rd District Democrats Spring Party will include a visit from a politician not usually seen here in the 43rd:

                    Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)

The senator will take a break from his rounds of campaigning for fellow US Senator Maria Cantwell (and, one supposes, making his name more widely-known hither, thither, and yon while testing the 2008 presidential campaign waters) to schmooze with members and friends of the organization that has made the 43rd Legislative District Washington State's most Democratic.

Even before the news of the Feingold visit, we were expecting to have quite the party at Washington Pioneer Hall (1642 43rd Ave E in Seattle, near where Madison St reaches Lake Washington).  We'll have plenty of great food, cold beer, good wine, live music, satirical songs.  And we have a full slate of auction items -- both silent and live -- with something to tickle just about anyone's fancy.  Adding Russ Feingold to the mix clearly makes the 43rd District Democrats Spring Party the place to spend your Saturday night in Seattle!

If you're interested in joining the festivities, which start at 7:00pm and go until 10 o'clock, contact Julian Wheeler, the organization's Vice Chair for Events, for further information.  It'll be a great time, in a great location, and your contributions will help to make a great LD Democratic organization all the stronger.

Be there or be square!

Posted by Neal Traven on May 17, 2006 at 04:54 PM in Candidate Races, Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

The Car-less Roadbuilder

Thanks to Jon Stahl for inviting me to contribute to Evergreen Politics.

For this first post, I thought I'd bring attention to what has got to be the most ironic news story of the year so far:  Doug MacDonald, the Washington State Secretary of Transportation, cannot drive. As the Seattle Times reported earlier this month, he failed to pass the vision portion of the State's driving test due to a degenerative eye disease. Although the state will provide a driver for him while he's working, at all other times he has to use his feet, a bicycle, a bus, a train, or a cab.

I would certainly never wish blindness on anyone. However, empathy is an incredibly powerful motivator for changing long-held beliefs. As a bicycle commuter and member of a four-person, one-car family, I must confess a certain amount of glee in imagining the rapidly shifting perspective the Secretary has on the level of funding various modes of transportation should receive. It's like witnessing the birth of a comic-book character:  "After losing the ability to drive, mild-mannered Secretary MacDonald was transformed into CAPTAIN MODESPLIT--promoter of transportation choices, defender of cyclists, pedestrians, the aged, and the young, fighting for freedom and mobility throughout the Evergreen State!"

Hey, it could happen.

Posted by Matt Stevenson on May 15, 2006 at 12:51 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 13, 2006

Qwest and NSA Surveillance

Here's one quick thought on the whole NSA phone records surveillance issue:  I'm glad that Qwest, alone among the Baby Bells, declined the government's requests for phone records because they thought that it was illegal without a warrant.  But why are we only finding out about it now?  The requests occurred in late 2001.  If Qwest thought the government was asking them to do something illegal, why didn't they not only refuse, but go public with that refusal?

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 13, 2006 at 03:21 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 12, 2006

2006 is poised to be the year for transit in Seattle

With the demise of the Monorail last year, where pro-transit forces had been content to fight with each other, our dysfunctional family can finally reunite with the common goal of making Seattle a city where transit is #1.

In 2006 Seattle voters will be presented with two transportation measures.  Measures that I believe should be presented in Seattle as companion measures to get buses on the street and transit moving through the city.  With the King County Transit Now! initiative adding buses to the city and the region. The transportation measure in Seattle should focus on moving buses through downtown and the city.

Creating a progressive, environmentally friendly urban city is really a recipe of an investment in transit, combined with transit oriented land use decisions, such as smart growth, affordable housing and transit oriented development.

Thank you Lynn for inviting me to contribute to Evergreen Politics. I’m looking forward to it.

My current passion is advocating for transit funding in the Seattle region and in Washington State.  I have a blog called Urban Transit.

I’ve worked on over twenty local political campaigns in the Seattle area as a fundraiser, field organizer, campaign manager and consultant, campaigns that include the 2000 Seattle Parks Levy and the 2001 Seattle School Levies.  I’ve also worked with numerous candidates running for local offices. Additionally, I worked as the legislative assistant to State Representative Ed Murray. I am currently the development coordinator for The Positive Futures Network, publishers of YES! magazine. I am a lifelong Seattle resident and currently live in the Fremont neighborhood.

Ezra

Posted by EzraBasom on May 12, 2006 at 08:37 PM in Policy, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Real McGavick

Goldy has a piece up on McGavick's fund-raising with the insurance industry bigwigs.  In it, he reminds us of the political smear campaigns that the industry lobby group, AIA, has engaged in over the years and lays out McGavick's role in that.  He also discusses Marc Racicot's role.  Racicot is former RNC Chair and currently president of the AIA, which just threw McGavick a big fundraiser in Washington D.C.  Go, read.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 12, 2006 at 01:01 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

29 and Falling

The Wall Street Journal has the details of the latest Harris poll on Bush's Approval Rates.  It is astounding.  Harris is likely only the first of many that will be coming in with figures in the high 20's over the next week. 

Some of the key items:

  • Bush's approval rating went from 43% in January and 35% in April to the 29% now. That's a huge drop.
  • The Congressional approval rating fell to 18% (in Dick Cheney territory) from 25% in February.
  • The gender gap is gone as far as approval goes: Men have Bush at 29% and women have him at 28%.
  • The numbers for right direction/wrong direction, often more closely linked to voting patterns, is worse - only 24% of the public believes that the country is going in the right direction.  However we do have a gender gap here: 29% of men said the country was going in the right direction while only 19% of women said the same.  Only 48% of Republicans said we are going in the right direction (this is going to hurt them - means lots of room for those approval numbers to continue to drop), while only 19% of Independents and 13% of Democrats agreed that the country is going in the right direction.
  • When asked what are the key issues the government should address, Iraq came in top at 28%, following by immigration at 16% and gas and oil prices at 14%, the economy at 13% and healthcare at 8%.
  • The trend for Independents to line up with Democrats is continuing, with 67% of Republicans still showing approval for Bush, while only 19% of Independents and 10% of Democrats approve.  These statistics provide us with support for what is being called the "Indycrat" realignment, a huge support for the idea that this will be a "wave year" politically. 

And, this poll was taken before the nationwide wiretapping scandal was revealed yesterday.  Watch these numbers slide even farther quickly.  Here's the entire poll.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 12, 2006 at 09:13 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Stand With Women in Black

Women in Black holds a peace vigil tomorrow 12-1 in Bellevue Square.  This pre-Mother's Day vigil will be held in front of Crate and Barrel.  Here's what our local Women in Black says about their vigils, which they hold weekly, along with other Women in Black groups around the country:

This village is one of the wealthiest meeting places in the world including the get-together of Henry Kissinger, the President Wu of China, Bill Gates etc.  and the lure of  Saturday market, Bellevue Square.  We have passed leaflets to Lennie Wilkins, Bill and Melinda Gates and God only knows who else.

After five years of standing for an hour each week with the Women In Black I am convinced that the statement we make for the values of peace and justice defines  women's responsibility.
Our continual presence to "stay the course" against violence  reminds those who pass our way  to take us seriously and that is power.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 12, 2006 at 08:09 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 11, 2006

End of an era

On the Seattle Times website, Olympia reporter Ralph Thomas has filed a story saying that Pat Thibaudeau will leave the State Senate.  Her departure from the Democratic primary in the 43rd Legislative District leaves Ed Murray, currently in the House, as the only announced Senate candidate.

Thibaudeau has represented Washington's most Democratic LD in the Senate since 1995, following three years in the House.  She had defeated Murray in that 1995 race for the open Senate seat previously held by the late Cal Anderson.  Last week, Governor Gregoire appointed her as the co-chair (with the governor herself) of the newly-created Blue Ribbon Commission to Improve Access to Affordable Quality Health Care, which will seek innovative ways to provide high-quality healthcare to all Washingtonians.  The 73-year-old Thibaudeau has long championed such issues, and her Master of Social Work degree from the Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts will serve her in good stead in this important new endeavor.

Upon her appointment to the new Commission, wags and observers in Seattle and Olympia immediately saw it as Gregoire's offer of a graceful way for Thibaudeau to exit the Senate on her own terms instead of as the loser of a Democratic primary rematch with Murray.  I can't say I see it differently.  Murray is decidedly less of a progressive than Thibaudeau, probably the rightmost candidate running for any legislative office in the 43rd District (meaning that he's merely a moderate liberal), and probably less liberal than the majority of his constituents.  But his impressive campaign war chest, high profile after the last couple of legislative sessions, and Thibaudeau's relatively poor health would have made it difficult for her to hold off his challenge for her seat.

Famous baseball executive Branch Rickey is said to have intoned

Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.

It seems to me that Christine Gregoire helped Pat Thibaudeau to see the wisdom of that adage.  Thank you, Pat, for your years of service to your Legislative District, and for your future years of (perhaps even greater) service to the health of all Washingtonians.

[cross-posted on my own blog]

Posted by Neal Traven on May 11, 2006 at 03:23 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (5)

Amazing Dialogue Going On at DailyKos

Earlier this morning both Senators Harry Reid and John Kerry posted diaries over at DailyKos.  Then something like a dialogue ensued between readers and each Senator, more so with Reid who inserted responses quite frequently.  This more than anything I've seen in awhile made me puddle up.  This connection between the base and the electeds is what will shift the landscape in this country. 

Both have posted before.  Both have taken their lumps and come back.  We're also heard from Senators Boxer and Speaker Pelosi.  The Speaker in particular got trashed and still came back to learn more and interact more.  All of them (well maybe Boxer was already totally with us) have moved to more progressive stands as its been clearer and clearer that we are here and we have their backs. 

I would really like to see our Northwest electeds do something similar on one of our blogs.  Post and then stay around to respond to comments.  In the meantime take a look at what we have today.  Reid's postKerry's post.

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 11, 2006 at 12:43 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 10, 2006

The First-Ever DailyKos Diary-Based Book

An incredible new downloadable-only book is being offered by YearlyKos as part of their fund-raising for the Las Vegas YearlyKo conference being held in June.

The book, "Kosmos: You Are Here" is astounding and a real bargain at $18.  Here's a paragraph of description by DailyKos diarist, AndyT, who sheparded the editing of this book through its all-volunteer production.   

Ever stood under a starlit sky and felt an overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder as you gazed up at the heavens? Hiked atop a windy mountain and felt the bones of the Earth under your feet and gotten a sudden sense of your place in the grand scheme of things? What about curled up with a book that gives you a taste of the infinite?

There is more about the book, including a few of the many gorgeous drawings, on the diary.

I read this book a couple times, as part of the volunteer editing corps.  I was stunned with how good this book is from so many different angles. 

It is a gorgeous story of our past history as creatures on this planet and brings us humans into that story as a part, not the peak, as we so often get.  It is also clearly a refutation of creationism and "intelligent design".  In fact you cannot read the book without coming away with a strong grounding in the many ways that all creationist theories are just bunk. 

But mostly it is awe inspiring.  The miracle of the evolution of our planet and the creatures on our planet is ever so much more astounding than anything so flat and devoid of life as creationism.   

Take a look.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 10, 2006 at 08:14 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 09, 2006

Biodiesel in Grays Harbor

Look. Clean energy is economic opportunity for economically depressed areas of our state.  Whoda thunkit?

Posted by Jon Stahl on May 9, 2006 at 08:53 PM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (7)

Moms Rising

MoveOn.org and the Elliott Bay Book company are hosting an evening this Thursday to kick off movement building for a new campaign to support mothers and families by focusing on changing laws to make it easier for Moms and families to thrive in this society. 

Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner will be talking about their great new book, The Motherhood Manifesto, and will preview a clip from a documentary of the same name by filmmakers John de Graaf and Laura Pacheco. The two authors present a blueprint for Momsrising.org, a new organization designed to give voice to millions of women who have not been political but may choose to become active to change legislative and workplace policies in support of women and families. 

Christy McWilson will sing and all will honor and celebrate mothers and families. 

Joan Blades, of course, is co-founder of MoveOn.org.  Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is author of the book, "The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy - Women, Politics, and the Future."  Here's a couple of paragraphs from the Press Release:

Motherhood in America is at a critical juncture. As women's roles evolve, more women than ever are in the workforce and more children than ever are raised without a stay-at-home parent. At the same time, public and private policies that affect parenting and the workplace remain largely unchanged. The result is that parents, and mothers in particular, struggle to balance the needs of their children with the demands of their jobs. In The Motherhood Manifesto, Joan Blade and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner argue that it's time for broad change in America's attitude towards working mothers. In both public and private sectors, radical shifts are needed to make parenting and the workplace compatible. Blade and Rowe-Finkbeiner identify the key obstacles facing working mothers today, and propose concrete solutions.

MomsRising.org is a new grassroots online organization founded by Blades and Rowe-Finkbeiner with the goal of championing core motherhood and family issues in political, social, and economic spheres. The intent of this new organization, modeled on MoveOn.org, is to reach millions of women who have not previously been active, to educate people about the problems facing mothers and families, and to provide avenues for common sense solutions to those problems. MomsRising.org hopes to ignite a major movement that brings real, necessary change to the lives of families.

I am currently reading "The Motherhood Manifesto" and I think these folks are onto something. We have two new moms in our immediate family and it is tough for them to put together the resources they need to take care of these delightful young ones.  Reading about the incredible support structures that other developed countries have instituted for new moms makes our lack of support all the more objectionable.

Cost is $5 at the door only.  Kids12 and under are free.  TownHall at 1119 Eighth Avenue (at Seneca).  7:30.   Thursday, May 11th.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 9, 2006 at 11:23 AM in Policy, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kick it Up a Notch - Attend Camp Wellstone

Progressive Majority again brings us the best campaign training around when they invite us to attend Camp Wellstone, an intensive, two and a half day program for those who want to build skills in campaigning and/or citizen activism.  I attended last year as did a slew of fellow bloggers and budding politicos, including Darcy Burner, now running vor Congress in the 8th CD and Eric Oemig, now running for State Senator in the 45th LD.  It was a great couple of days and a great way to jump into the progressive Democratic network around here.

This year's Camp Wellstone will be held June 16-18 at the campus of Seattle Pacific University in Seattle.  There are three tracks you can sign up for:

Candidate. This track covers the fundamentals of campaigns, including fundraising, field organizing, campaign plan and budget writing, volunteer recruitment, GOTV, and media relations. (Please email Edie Gilliss, Progressive Majority's political director, if you would like a slot in this track.

Campaign Management. This track covers campaign fundamentals from the perspective of those who make it happen. Participants learn the skills that are essential to putting your candidate or team in the best position to win.

Citizen Activism. This track presents ideas and tactics to strengthen issue-based organizing and to develop the capacity of grassroots leaders to build a base, advocate within legislative bodies and build sustainable organizations. This track is recommended for individuals who are interested in moving a particular issue agenda forward.

Last I checked, they've still got a couple slots left but I suspect those will go quickly so get on it.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 9, 2006 at 08:07 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 08, 2006

Mark Hintz to Come to Drinking Liberally

Tuesday is the day that the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets.  Come join us for food, a brewski and good conversation at the Montlake Ale House at 8:00 on any Tuesday evening.  This week, Mark Hintz, Chair of the Snohomish County Democrats will be joining us.  The Snohomish folks will be starting up their own Drinking Liberally chapter shortly and he wanted to see what it looked like here.

I asked him if he'd take a few minutes to share what he's been doing in Snohomish County since so many folks there rave about how well run their county Party is and he said he would.  I wrote about it a month ago or so.  Take a look.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 8, 2006 at 09:17 PM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peeling Away the Myth

Dave Reichert tries to portray himself as a moderate.  Dan over at "On the Road to 2008" has done a masterful piece of research that cracks that myth wide open.  He lays out the key votes and shows that Reichert has voted with Republicans over 88% of those time when the Democrats and Republicans were in opposition.  In the two instances when he voted with Democrats in opposition to the Republicans his vote didn't matter because the bills were going to pass with a wide margin.  He got a free pass from the Republican leadership to vote with the Democrats because it didn't matter.  Some moderate.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 8, 2006 at 09:08 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 07, 2006

Teaching Early Adopters to Communicate to the Early Majority

Kid Oakland, one of the best thinkers in the blogosphere, has a great post up at DailyKos today that applies Malcolm Gladwell's "tipping point" understanding to our quest to tip this country over to the Democrats. 

The Kid describes Gladwell's "tipping point" as "the moment at which a trend breaks out of the confines of its "early adopters" and into mainstream prevalence".  He says, quite convincingly, that we who write and read political blogs are all "early adopters".  We have been paying attention but we are all talking to ourselves and think we're in the mainstream when we're far from it. The presumption that we are currently in the middle of a political "tipping point" is a fallacy. It is premature and we haven't made the jump.  He says,

Malcolm Gladwell describes what he calls a "chasm" between the enthusiasm of "early Adopters" and the wants and needs of the next phase of the public to accept a trend, the "early Majority"

...the attitude of the Early Adopters  and the attitude of the Early Majority are fundamentally incompatible.  Innovations don't just slide effortlessly from one group to the next.  There's a chasm between them.  All kinds of high-tech products fail, never making it beyond the Early Adopters, because the companies that make them can't find a way to transform an idea that makes perfect sense to an Early Adopter into one that makes sense to a member of the Early Majority.

Kid Oakland is talking to those of us who are fighting to reform the Democratic Party, rebuild democracy and take back this country and he says we will have to change our tactics if we are going to win, even in this favorable climate.  He says,

"Early Adopters" in the grassroots will embrace the rhetoric of the "fighting Democrat." To win a majority of the broader public, however, that "revolutionary" spirit needs to be translated into a language and a framework that appeals to the majority.   What appeals to early adopter Democratic activists by its very nature will not, in its unadulterated form, appeal to the "Early Majority" much less the "Late Majority." We have to translate our message to cross the chasm.

We need to learn to communicate, to translate our passion into something that can be understood from the viewpoint of the majority of folks in this country.  It will take building bridges to the "early majority", holding conversations with voters who "agree with us but don't necessarily share our style or all our convictions". 

We get stuck because we like messages that play to our base. 

We create a vibe, whether intentional or not, that we aren't interested in translating our message for the middle (and by that I mean talking in no nonsense terms about ALL our positions including liberal ones) or putting ourselves in someone else's shoes.  We act, in effect, like "Early Adopters" who insist that the "Early Majority" become "Early Adopters" too.  We don't seem to mind if we are offputting to someone who doesn't share our anger and concerns.  And amongst ourselves, we often go to the wall to insist that any adaptation or moderation of our message is a betrayal when, in fact, adaptation of our message may be the best hope for the broader success of our ideas. 

In effect, instead of following the arc of Gladwell's "tipping point" ie. transforming our message so it can cross the chasm to the majority, we've insisted that the majority "come to us" and see things from our point of view.   We fail to understand why they don't do this.  With this failure we have allowed the very real impression to stand that in order to vote for a Democratic candidate, you have to, on some level, become a "liberal Democrat." 

<snip>

As a result, we've "given many voters the impression that we just don't and won't see things from their point of view".

<snip>

We cannot change this dynamic with business as usual no matter how many scandals fly through Congress, and no matter how outrageous the conduct of this president.  We need to create our tipping point, not fall into one.  You cannot fall into a majority, you have to build it.

We build it by making connections, understanding and tapping into the values that voters have, and using language that connects our policies to those values.  We need to find leaders who have this ability to build a "tipping point".  Gladwell calls them "connectors"; Kid Oakland points to Mark Warner and Brian Schweitzer as good connectors.

I say the more of us learn to do this the better.

I got a taste of this new way of communicating at a training that the Progressive Majority folks sponsored on Saturday.  It was an entire day of hearing about and practicing techniques of connecting to the "early majority".  The folks who did the training, the Center for Policy Alternatives out of Washington D.C. didn't call it that and I didn't understand that that was what we were doing at the time.  Now, having read the Kid's essay, I do.  I just knew that learning to communicate in this way was a blast and it was hard to do and it will take practice.

Progressive Majority is in the business of teaching candidates, campaign staff and activists to learn to make these connections.  Even though this is the end of a lengthy post, it is still a good time to encourage people to attend their next training, June 16-18, put on by Camp Wellstone, which uses many similar techniques, is also a blast and is also designed to help us learn to communicate our message better, among many other things.  Sign up here.  Or go read Goldy's description here and then sign up.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 7, 2006 at 11:15 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Cantwell's Position On the War is a Non-Position

Atrios put his finger squarely on the reason I find Maria Cantwell's "year of transition" non-position position on the Iraq War to be completely and utterly unsatisfying:

The real issue isn't what Democrats are saying about Iraq now. The real issue is knowing what they're going to say in October, and laying the foundation now to do that. In the plan:


   

Ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.

Early November is pretty near the end of 2006 and at that time, I imagine, Iraq will still be shit. If 2006 fails to be "a year of significant transition" what will Democrats be saying then? Forget the unified message now, what will be the unified message then?

Cantwell voted for the war.  She, along with a lot of other Democrats (but not Patty Murray) was wrong.   There were no WMDs.  We didn't need to go to war.

Unlike many other Democrats, Cantwell doesn't seem able to admit that the war -- and her vote for it -- were both mistakes, and that leaves her unable to put forth any ideas about how to move forward out of this quagmire.  Instead, we're stuck with her mouthing half-baked non-messages from Party HQ.

C'mon!  Where's the kind of leadership you've shown on energy and the environment?  You can do better.

And, yes, I'm still voting for you.


Posted by Jon Stahl on May 7, 2006 at 03:53 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nationwide Wireless - An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

A couple days ago, Shaun over at Upper Left tells us that he was on a conference call with Nancy Pelosi where she said, among other things, that the Democrats are getting ready to propose that every American have broadband access within five years. 

This policy plank makes so much sense.  The critical thing is going to be communicating it properly so it doesn't look like a "latte Democrat" idea.  I reported a couple weeks ago that Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia and early candidate for President in 2008, makes very good use of this issue.  As governor, he brought wireless technology to 700,000 Virginians, largely in rural areas.  He did it within the context of assisting small towns to catch up and thrive.  The larger context is bringing innovation and jobs to rural America.

Rural America, including the eastern part of our state, is only recently primarily Republican.  If we as Democrats can become the Party that fights for the re-invigoration of rural America, we are likely to be able to get these folks back.  It will mean focusing on education and jobs that can be decentralized - both of which are made easier by the introduction of nationwide wireless.  Those are just the issues that Warner focused on, very effectively, as governor of Virginia and he was able to pull Virginia closer to blue territory.

It's also the right thing to do.  Someone said something very interesting to me a year or two ago: When you go into small towns in Canada, people are well read.  They are interesting and very similar to the folks in the cities.  Huh?  My experience of the rural areas of this country, with the exception of a few pockets of ex-pat city folks, is that they are under-educated and over-churched.  It's often a cultural and political divide.  Why not try to turn that around?      

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 7, 2006 at 09:40 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (5)

May 05, 2006

Lucky to be Living in Seattle/King County

If the bird flu pandemic hits, we couldn’t be living in a better prepared place than here in King County.  That may be small solace if it arrives or arrives before we can be better prepared as a nation but it should serve as some measure of consolation.

A couple days ago, in a letter released in conjunction with a report entitled “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza," President Bush said that local governments and individual communities will have to shoulder most of the burden in battling the disease if a pandemic strikes.

Given what we know about the usefulness of federal responses under this administration, this comes as no surprise.  So, lucky for us that our local officials figured out the same thing a while ago and have been planning and preparing on our behalf.

The federal government report has been helpful in articulating the situation even if it might best have been done a couple years earlier. 

Frances Townsend, the chirpy new Homeland Security spokesperson, said at a news briefing covered by the NYT: "We cannot say whether or not a human pandemic will begin."   If it does strike the United States, “the country will have a health crisis unlike any it has seen in decades”, she said.  “Under the government's plan for the worst-case possibility, a pandemic flu could cause up to two million deaths in the United States.”

The report notes: 

Pandemic influenza is different from seasonal influenza because it occurs when a new strain of influenza emerges that can be transmitted easily from person to person and for which people have no immunity. Unlike seasonal influenza, which typically affects the frail and sick, pandemic influenza could present as much risk to the young and healthy.

Moreover, the routine of everyday life would be disrupted, perhaps for months, among the sick and healthy.

A flu pandemic would severely disrupt the economy, and private businesses and government agencies should assume that up to 40 percent of employees would be absent for up to two weeks at the height of each wave of infections, the report says. Local police departments and state National Guard units would have primary responsibility for keeping order, but the military would be available to assist. 

And people would have to change the way they live and do business, perhaps for months. They might be asked to limit their travel or, in the worst case, be ordered not to travel. Such measures would give local communities more time to prepare, but they would only slow the advance of the disease.

Companies would be encouraged, if not told, to curtail meetings. Social gatherings would be discouraged. People who show any symptoms would be advised to stay home altogether.

In February, NPR highlighted King County’s bird flu preparation in a piece on “All Things Considered”.   They began by describing a bird flu simulation model prepared by the Emory University and the Los Alamos National Lab.  A researcher at the University of Washington, Ira Longini, used that and other data to predict the number of people who would be afflicted with the avian bird flu should an outbreak occur here. 

Here’s what he came up with:

Day 1
0 people sick

Day 28
31 people sick

Day 49
1,403 people sick

Day 77
57,623 people sick

Day 86 (Peak)
90,122 people sick

Day 98
36,267 people sick

Day 112
4,136 people sick

Day 126
390 people sick

Day 147
19 people sick

Day 168
1 people sick

Day 182
0 people sick

Cumulative number of people projected to contract the flu in King County, Wash., during a severe pandemic: 828,950.

With that in mind, King County and the Seattle/ King County Health Department went to work to plan for how to best meet such a calamity.  From transcripts of the NPR broadcast:

For some time now officials there have been making the rounds of health care facilities, businesses and schools, warning about the scope of a potential flu pandemic. They've also been talking about and what might be done to minimize illness, death and social disruption. Their master plan, just released, is based roughly on the deadly flu pandemic of 1918.

That plan can be found on the King County website.  The website includes a fact sheet on bird flu, resources for individual and families, law enforcement, local businesses, schools, local government agencies, healthcare professionals, additional resources from other national and international agencies such as the U.S. government, the CDC and the World Health Organization. 

The 45-page Response Plan, Version 11, is an astounding document.  It includes the purpose of the plan, assumptions about the possible pandemic, the likely phases of a pandemic, the responsibilities of the various state and local agencies, and discussions of how direction will be provided, communications maintained, schools run, people quanantined, and social distancing strategies implemented.  (Note that phrase, social distancing.  You’ll be hearing a lot about that as we begin to talk more about preparing for living with a flu pandemic.)  They talk about many aspects of the public health system and responses and then how the recovery from the pandemic can proceed.

They also have a section on maintenance of essential services, something I’ve personally been very interested in since my assumptions about the availability of services has a lot to do with my personal preparations.  Can we count on having water, even intermittently?  Electricity? Bus service?  I was reassured and incredibly impressed by the obvious thought that has gone into thinking this all through and developing agreement to it.

The Response Plan requires that government agencies and private businesses that provide essential services to the public provide and maintain continuity of operations plans and protocols for use in the different phases of a pandemic.

My hat is off to Ron Sims, King County Executive, for directing that the county take on this immense and critically important preparation and planning and to Jim Lopez, his Deputy Chief of Staff, for implementing and overseeing this plan.  I’m sure there were many more people who were critical to its development, likely including Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of infection control for the Seattle-King County Public Health Department; Dr. Peter Houck of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chris Martin, director of emergency services at Harborview; and Carolyn Teeter, Chief of Health Operations for King County, all of whom have been mentioned in the several news reports praising Seattle/King County’s efforts so far.

When I interviewed Ron Sims two months ago, he talked about the hard decisions that public officials would be forced to make.  He mentioned the case of Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson, mayor during the 1918 pandemic, who imposed classic public health measures and was vilified even though those measures clearly saved many lives.  Hanson resigned and left town.  Sims says that he would not hesitate to make the hard decisions to save lives. 

Luckily, the planning and consensus building with relevant agencies and businesses and organizations that Sims has instituted should make all that easier if we are in the unfortunate position of having to implement them.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 5, 2006 at 10:44 PM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yeah for Sound Transit

Light rail from the UW to the Airport?  Yep.  Darryl at Hominid Views has uncovered the news buried in a Tacoma News Tribune piece on Sound Transit.  Someone around here is getting the idea that we really need to focus on getting really good public transportation and soon.  Good on ya, Sound Transit.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 5, 2006 at 10:10 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 04, 2006

Outrageous

The State Board of Pharmacy is wavering on filling lawful prescriptions.  Josh Feit at the Slog reports that Planned Parenthood has the bad news from yesterday's hearing:

The language originally proposed at yesterday’s meeting by the Department of Health would have required that pharmacists fill all lawfully prescribed drugs and devices unless those drugs are unsafe for the client or fraudulent, or if there is another pharmacist available on-site who will fill the prescription.

But by the end of the meeting an alternative version emerged that permits a pharmacist to refuse to serve a patient and refer them elsewhere.

The meeting was largely dominated by Pharmacy Board member Donna Dockter, a Seattle pharmacist whose term expires next January. Dockter spent the majority of the meeting expressing her strong opposition to a pharmacists’ duty to fill lawful prescriptions and advocated for new language that would permit a pharmacist to refuse a patient and refer them somewhere else.

Dockter’s version reads that if a pharmacist “cannot fill a lawfully prescribed stocked drug or device,” that pharmacist may “transfer the prescription to another pharmacist,” regardless of whether the other pharmacy stocks the drug or not.

Josh says:

As I’ve reported: refusals are a problem in Seattle.

Governor Gregoire needs to make it clear to the board that protecting women’s health is more important than protecting a fundamentalist’s feelings.

We are talking about something as routine as birth control pills, folks.  As someone said recently (sorry, sometimes I just can't go back and find the source), if pharmacists were refusing to fill prescriptions for Viagra, this would be national issue in about 5 seconds and we'd have a national law requiring all pharmacists to fill lawful prescriptions within the week. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 4, 2006 at 09:42 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (3)

May 03, 2006

Dialogue on the Progressive Movement - Then and Now

Noemie has a great piece up at Washblog, an interview/dialogue with Don Hopps, Consulting Director of the Institute for Washington's Future.  The discussion is wide-ranging but my favorite sections are the perspective on the Progressive Movement that arose a century ago in this country in response to factors very like what we are seeing today.  Here are a few paragraphs to whet your appetite:

Part of what the movement did was to ultimately reform the Democratic Party, which was coming out of the legacy of the American civil war and was still quite conservative.

Now what we have with the Progressive movement is many separate issues that are looking for a center. Sustainability could be the vehicle for a Progressive rebirth. Sustainability integrates the major issues of today: environmental concerns, concerns with economic justice, and community preservation and enhancement under the overarching need to democratize our economy.

<snip>

You know, the late nineteenth century, the Gilded Age that preceded the blossoming of progressive reform, looked very much like today: a Democratic Party of caution and conservatism, Republican presidents in the back pocket of -- what else - big oil, a country distracted by foreign terrorists into dabbling in imperialistic adventures. That's why we need a rebirth of the Progressive movement.

Go, read.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 3, 2006 at 12:08 PM in Interviews | Permalink | Comments (3)

Washington State Does Its Own Foreign Trade Policy

Governor Chris Gregoire will host Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Marta for a visit to Seattle on May 24-25. She invited him to come to the state earlier this year and he has selected a wonderful time of the year to take her up on the invitation.  It will be his first visit here.

Gregoire said in a press statement today, "We are the most trade dependent state in the nation and this visit, following so closely on the heels of the visit from China's President Hu, highlights Washington's importance in the global economy."

Washington exported $1 billion in products to Mexico, including planes, computers, electronics, and paper and agricultural products, making it Washington's eleventh largest export market.   

I'm betting that Fox, as I'm guessing was true with President Hu of China, will find that a visit to the "real Washington" is far more pleasant that any visit to the other Washington.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 3, 2006 at 10:36 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Concert to Honor and Mourn Losses in Iraq

The Seattle Peace Chorus is performing Mozart's Requiem this Saturday, May 6th, at Townhall in Seattle.  This concert is specifically to honor the dead on all sides in the war in Iraq.  Here's a word from their website:

Today, in which the price or war is absolutely devastating in every regard, the Peace Chorus offers music that has the power to both accentuate the destructiveness in life and to unleash the healing power of grief and remembering.

The Chorus was formed in 1983, in the midst of the Cold War.  They did a citizen-diplomacy tour to the Soviet Union in 1985 and then again in 1988 and 1992.  They went to Chile in 1995 and Cuba in 1999 and 2001, all to attend choral festivals. 

The concert will be opened by the talented AMORE, senior ensemble of The Northwest Girlchoir. The instrumental accompaniment will be provided by the Western Washington University Orchestra. 
They will be joined by members of the Persian ensemble, Kamand, performing on traditional middle eastern instruments to create a cross-cultural sound.

Tickets are still available, either at Bailey Coy Books on Capital Hill or online at Brown Paper Tickets.  Begins at 7:30.  General admission tickets are $15 ahead or $17 at the door. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 3, 2006 at 10:33 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 02, 2006

Three Years Later

Think Progress has a table up with numbers on the situation in Iraq three years ago, when President Bush proclamed "Mission Accomplished" on the deck of an aircraft carrier, compared to today, when we are deep into the occupation and insurgency.  It's pretty astounding on all counts.

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 2, 2006 at 09:36 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Watching the Future Walk By

Yesterday's march and rally for immigrant rights in Seattle was touching to watch and ease into.  I got off the bus just as the march was coming into the downtown area and turning toward the Federal Building.  Because I was meeting Noemie (of Washblog), I walked the opposite direction for 10 blocks or so before we caught up with each other and walked together down to the rally area at the Federal Building.

Watching a protest march is quite different from being in the midst of it.  When I was part of the anti-war protests in 2002 and early 03 (or way back in the late 60's), I remember the feeling of moving along with the crowd, becoming a part of an ever-changing organism.  The different groups and individuals go at different paces, jostling and bantering as one or the other moves on.  Stepping out of that flow and watching from the sidewalk or walking against the grain provides an entirely different perspective. 

Yesterday was a watching day. What a sight to see all these people who care enough about their beliefs to walk their talk. It brought tears to my eyes to see a new group of people who felt like who they are and what they want matters.  There were so many young folks in the crowd and masses of babies in arms and in strollers, with toddlers walking along with their parents.  NPR said this morning that 70,000 students in LA had skipped school to march.  I believe it.  There were so many young people walking along, in threes and fours, moving faster than the march as a whole, as teenagers are wont to do. 

Many signs in the crowd reminded us that we are an immigrant nation and Latinos are our newest immigrants. I'd guess this crowd was at least 90% Latino.  I wonder what the sense of seeing their impact on the nation will do for these, our newest immigrants, whether they will continue to grow in strength, whether they will be joined by other immigrants from other continents, or by more supporters whose ancestors went through the jolt of coming here decades ago.  As far as I could tell, the only organized non-Latino support for the marchers yesterday came from numerous labor organizations - that and the lone Buddhist Peace Fellowship guy.   

I expect that the force of these demonstrations will ebb if the Sensenbrenner House Bill does not pass in the Senate.  HB 4437, which the House passed in December, is what has brought both undocumented workers and documented Latinos out in mass.  The bill would change the status of the countries 10-12 million undocumented immigrants from being legal visitors with temporary status problems to that of aggravated felons and would subject them to prosecution and immediate deportation.  The bill would also make anyone who aids them, from teachers to health care providers to landlords to employers subject to prosecution. 

Preventing this bill from passing and providing a lawful, orderly process for undocumented workers to become US citizens is the core of what this protest is about.  Being face to face with thousands of people marching for the opportunity to stay in the US to make their lives better for themselves and their children is pretty compelling and shifts me over to the column that suggests we do just that.

A DailyKos diarist from Seattle has photos and a brief post.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 2, 2006 at 08:47 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)